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Shopping for auto insurance can be a stressful task even with a spotless driving record. Higher-risk drivers with violations and a history of filing claims face added challenges. But high-risk drivers can often find affordable insurance by exploring all their options. If no companies are willing to insure you due to recent serious violations, you can turn to a high-risk car insurance pool to get legally required coverage.
Here's how to find insurance if you're considered a high-risk driver.
What Is a High-Risk Driver?
When calculating your premium, insurance companies focus on risk assessment. The details on your application go through numerous algorithms to determine how statistically likely you are to file a claim or cost the insurance company money in some other way. High-risk drivers often face higher premiums—in other cases, they may be rejected entirely.
Some driving factors that may deem you a high-risk driver and influence your insurance rates include:
- At-fault accident
- Reckless driving
- Numerous speeding tickets
- Other serious violations
Your behavior on the road is not the only thing insurance companies look at when assessing risk. People with a questionable or vague insurance history can also be deemed high-risk drivers.
Other, non-driving factors insurance companies also include in their assessment include:
- Credit Score
- Zip code
- Previous lapse in coverage
- Late payments or cancellation due to nonpayment
- Vehicle use and type
How Much More Does Insurance Cost for High-Risk Drivers?
The average annual insurance premium in 2021 was $1,951, according to data from Gabi®, Experian's online insurance broker and agent. Depending on why you are considered a high-risk driver, your payments can top that amount by over 80%, making the average insurance premium for a high-risk driver around $3,500.
The premium increase after claims and violations differs depending on the state. Some states are more forgiving for things like a DUI/DWI or speeding tickets than others. The state of Florida, for instance, has the lowest premium increase following a DUI of only 33%. On the opposite side of the spectrum there are states like South Carolina, where the same offense can quadruple your premium.
How to Find High-Risk Car Insurance
Even though high-risk insurance tends to be more expensive, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount you pay.
Change Your Coverage
Compare Policies From Different Insurance Companies
The most important factor when trying to get coverage and decrease your monthly payments is exploring your options. Most insurance companies offer six- or 12-month auto policies, and renewal time is a perfect opportunity to review your policy to see if you are getting the best deal out there.
Even mid-term price checks can result in significant savings. A common misconception about changing insurance providers is that it can only be done when your current policy is about to expire. In most cases, your policy can be terminated at any time, with the possibility of getting a refund on any unused premium. Some companies might impose an early termination fee, however, so prior to any cancellation, contact your insurance company to ensure no small-print charges are applied.
Take a Defensive Driver Course
Another way of ensuring your premium remains low is by completing a defensive driving course. This is a class lasting usually anywhere between four and eight hours depending on your state. The course is aimed at teaching drivers how to control their vehicle when encountering unexpected situations, such as aggressive drivers, mechanical issues and extreme weather conditions.
Completing the course not only rewards you with the course completion certificate, which you can present to your insurer for a discount, but also provides invaluable knowledge that can help you become a safer driver, clean up your record and possibly get better rates.
The Most Affordable High-Risk Car Insurance Companies
You might be wondering which companies offer the best deal for high-risk drivers. Unfortunately, there is no uniform answer that fits all scenarios. Depending on your individual circumstances, your best bet might differ from someone else's. If you're a young, inexperienced driver, the best choice for you might be different than if you had reckless driving or a DUI on your record.
The key to finding the best deal out there is researching all your options. Shopping for insurance can be tedious when checking multiple companies manually and having to provide the same details multiple times with different companies. With Experian's auto insurance comparison tool, you can input the data just once and get quotes from 40 top auto insurers. The findings are presented in an organized, clear manner, allowing you to compare and pick the best option.
The Bottom Line
Clearing your driving record is a waiting game. It's important to find the right insurance company, at the right price, while you wait for your claims and violations fall off your record. This can take three to five years, depending on the offense. In the meantime, try shopping for lower rates and working to improve your credit scores. If you're not sure where your score stands, you can check your credit score with Experian for free.